A “great need for a place of refuge...”
Since 1919, thousands of Christian Scientists from around the world have experienced the healing atmosphere offered by the Benevolent Association. Below we present a few comments from residents at The Residences at 910 — heartfelt and inspiring perspectives. We think you will enjoy reading what they have to say about the significance of living on the campus of the Benevolent Association, where the entire focus is on uplifting thought and supporting spiritual healing.
Home, according to Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary: “One’s dwelling place; abode of one’s family.”
This is a family, because we look out for each other and care for each other, look forward to eating meals and spending time with each other, enjoying activities with one another, and taking walks around the lovely grounds together. Our Activities Director plans lovely outings and there are regular activities, usually every day. We make our own decisions, what to join to do.
I can testify to the fact that the BA is a “resort” for “recruitment.” Many years ago, and again more recently, I was the recipient of temporary Christian Science nursing care, for which I’m most grateful. As a resident I now enjoy the company of other residents and can join in planned activities as much or as little according to my needs. One’s privacy is definitely respected. This gives ample time for study, prayer, listening and responding to the Truth of being and awakening from dreams or false identification to acceptance of the proverb that we, indeed are one with our loving Father-Mother God. “…progress is the law of God, whose law demands of us only what we can certainly fulfill.” (S&H 233:6) God’s balance is proven. Our “God…all–acting…” (S&H 587) is present!
I came to live at the Residences at 910 several years ago because it seemed like a good life choice. Coming from a situation where I was living alone, where getting together with friends often ended in recitals of health problems, I felt enormous relief in no longer being subjected to these “organ recitals.” In my new home I could come to our meals in the dining room and expect to find an elevated level of conversation and even shared spiritual insights. Gratitude, not griping, is a habit of thought in a Christian Science environment.
Living in a community such as the Residences, I discovered, teaches many life lessons which can bring health and wholeness. When I first moved in, I witnessed one of the residents kindly assisting another — her friend — who was dealing with a mobility issue. I was so touched by this expression of loving-kindness that I became more alert to the ways that I too might become more helpful to my fellow residents and guests, realizing that we are all called to demonstrate divine Love to the world right around us. Living in a community as we do puts us, daily, in the position to witness many mini-acts of loving-kindness — the infinitesimals — that can bring joy to our lives. .Living in community has taught me about patience, thoughtfulness, sharing, and generosity of spirit because I am seeing these qualities expressed in my fellow residents.
Inasmuch as the BA is a crossroads for Christian Scientists, we are often encountering guests from other parts of the world. Hence, our lives expand from a 24-acre plot in the village of Chestnut Hill in New England to the far-reaches of the globe by our personal encounters with citizens from afar. I remember my first summer living in the Residence and meeting a guest from Australia, who was here for a week as part of her journey around the world. Daily at breakfast she regaled us with stories of her life on the other side of the planet and her profession as an educator working at healing the wounds of the Indigenous youth of her country.
In addition to conversations with guests, our mental horizons are further stretched by the stimulation of discussions of articles from The Christian Science Monitor, by films, by lectures, and by other thought-awakening experiences.
Living in community is also an invitation to grow spiritually by developing new interests and skills as well as sharing the skills, talents, and expertise developed in our former lives. This might take the form of planning and playing piano for monthly Hymn Sings; it might be setting up art workshops, reading books on scriptural, historical, and biographical themes to groups of Residents, sharing children’s literature at a local elementary school, or facilitating a variety of courses on topics of interest, all of which enrich thought and help us remain vital and stimulated human beings.
I have discovered in the months, which have grown into years, that this is not only a nice place to live but, in our daily lives and interactions, it is also a refuge for healing and wholeness, which is another way of saying it’s a great place to be!
“Lovely, peaceful haven for full-time living. Nice choice of rooms, good food, friendly and helpful associates, and many friends from various parts of the US.
Those precious opening words of Ps. 91, “He that dwelleth under the wings of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty,” underlie the extraordinary mental atmosphere shared by administrators, staff members, and residents of the BA, creating a sense of extended spiritual family! Pervasive goodwill, harmony, joy, all give buoyancy to life, and the many activities one is invited to participate in give as much entertainment as one could wish for.
Not to be overlooked is the rich variety of cultural activities Boston offers! Most are easily accessed by public transportation or the facility’s van, and can add a deeply satisfying layer of fulfillment to the residents’ experience.
For those more intent on spiritual growth and development, the setting could not be more ideal. The quiet green setting, multiple study rooms, and an underlying sense of Science at work, all facilitate centering one’s thought to fathom our textbooks more deeply. Easy access to The Mother Church, MBE Library, Longyear Museum, public libraries and educational facilities, is available to enhance one’s spiritual pursuit.
Yes, indeed, residents at 910 Boylston Street find living here very satisfying, well rounded, and complete!
The healing atmosphere at the BA has extended to my family. They appreciate the support for spiritual growth and trust that my best interest is always a vital part of decisions.
What has been very important to me here at the BA is the conversations with everyone. From the kitchen staff to fellow residents, everyone expresses such respect and love. Topics at meals are always informative and joyous. We are a family.
For me, a resident of The Residences at 910, my apartment is within a home, a place of refuge, and a sanctuary for healing in Christian Science.
I appreciate this line in Merriam Webster’s definition of “refuge”: “Place of shelter, protection, or safety.” It is a very apt definition for both the Christian Science nursing facility and The Residences at 910. And I treasure this line from a dictionary definition of “home”: “Any place of residence or refuge; a heavenly home.” To me it amplifies one of Mary Baker Eddy’s statements about home in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “Home is the dearest spot on earth, and it should be the centre, though not the boundary, of the aﬀections” (p. 58:21).
Because we are talking about the BA as a refuge for healing, I’d like to share a healing I had a few months after making my home in The Residences at 910.
I woke up one morning feeling a bit woozy. Feeling nauseous and wobbly when I got out of bed and stood up. Quickly I laid back down and thought about God’s great love for me and His constant care. I was not alone. There was nothing to fear. I was in His presence. He was right there with me. I dozed for a very short time and woke feeling refreshed and ready to get on with my day.
However, shortly after stepping in to the shower I felt myself losing consciousness. I took hold of the handrail and let myself slowly down to a sitting position in the tub. I declared out loud the Scientific Statement of Being. You can read it too. Its on page 468 of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy’s textbook on spiritual healing – healing the way Jesus did.
I began to question and reason through the entire statement. The first line says “There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter.” (SH 468) I asked myself why she made this radical statement and why it is a true fact. These questions were answered in the next sentence: because “All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation…” So if the source of what is manifested is infinite, then all that is seen, expressed, felt, or witnessed from that source is infinite. It is perfect. Therefore I am perfect because the only Creator made me in His image and likeness. Health is pure and perfect just as its source is pure and perfect. Always. And that’s the all and the only that I can experience or manifest. Ever. And it can only be manifested entirely without fault or defect; faithfully reproducing the original. There is nothing else.
My reasoning continued on with more questions, and their answers, gleaned from statements included in this scientific statement of being. Answers that had been revealed to Mrs. Eddy. For example, why is there nothing else? Because “God is All-in-all”! Because “…Spirit is immortal Truth: …” (I knew Spirit to be a synonym for God). Because “… Spirit is the real and eternal;…” There is, can be, no entity or being that has even a hint of power to break in to halt, hinder or interfere with continuation of my perfection as God’s loved and perfect child.
I prayed for several minutes to understand with greater clarity and accept with more complete confidence my identity as the man made in His image and likeness – man that is not material but spiritual.
Mary Baker Eddy’s words were a divine revelation to her. She shared her revelation with the world. It gives a foundation to reason out from to understand and know the all-ness and perfection of God and of man -- made to glorify Him as His image and likeness.
To quote Eddy, “I knew the Principle of all harmonious Mind-action to be God, and that cures were produced in primitive Christian healing by holy, uplifting faith; but I must know the Science of this healing, and I won my way to absolute conclusions through divine revelation, reason, and demonstration.” (SH 109: 16-22)
I stood up, finished my shower and dressed for the day. I texted a Christian Science Practitioner to pray with me to protect my demonstration and healing. Within an hour I had a call from someone for help. I accepted the opportunity and had a perfect and perfectly wonderful day of giving. About dinner time I realized I had not called back to give thanks for the healing support. I called.
Going back to the original topic: “The BA as a refuge for healing.” I would say “Yes, it absolutely is!” I would say the same for The Residences at 910—a home that includes a refuge for healing. Again, to quote a line from the definition of “home” —“any place of residence or refuge; a heavenly home.” I’ve found it to be a place in which one’s domestic aﬀections are centered and one’s familial ties are honored and strengthened.